Is scalping Betfair for a living, truly viable in this day and age? It’s a common question, but the answer is somewhat more complex.
Lets first consider what scalping actually means, when looking at sports trading specifically. Scalping is a low risk form of trading, which involves short term price movements within an active exchange market. Bets are made on both sides of the market (back and lay), with the aim of squeezing out small, consistent profits.
The ability to request your odds on the exchanges, makes this process possible. The constant volatility of prices prior to the off enable scalpers to enter numerous small tick trades before a race goes off.
If we look at the favorite above “Jack Be Good”, the back price is 2.88 and the lay price is 2.9. If we back for £100 and lay for the same amount at these prices, we’ll lose 68p after commission.
We can ask for odds of 2.9 for the back bet, and lay odds of 2.88 and if matched, we stand to make 68p.
Now 68p doesn’t sound a lot, but scalpers emulate the same trades many times before an event starts.Just ten tiny trades for 1 tick, could produce £6.80 on one race. It doesn’t even matter which horse wins!
Too Good To Be True
Scalping has no doubt, changed betting for good. As the exchanges are peer to peer, they extract a small commission from each winning bet, and unsurprisingly they actually want you to win.
We discussed horse racing earlier, but any Betfair market can be scalped or traded. Whatever events you’re interested in can be capitalized upon.
Generally though, the more liquid markets like football and racing offer excellent opportunities for prospective profits. Other large markets include tennis and cricket and these can provide significant matched money volumes.
Now the example above, shows a crude analogy of a simple scalp. However, things get much better, and easier, as we’re about to discover.
It goes without saying, that software has made life easier in many areas of our lives. Betfair is no different. There are so many software vendors with access to the Betfair API. This is the technical term for the live data feed, which allows third party vendor access. As you can imagine, Betfair love getting their data out in the market. Ultimately it increases liquidity and therefore commissions.
Again, there is different software for specific types of betting, and although I won’t be exploring that in this post, It’s good to be aware for future possibilities.
Although many scalpers prefer to trade manually using the ladder interface, some software applications allow automatic trading or trigger betting. You can set up a set of circumstances, and when they’re reached, your trade is opened or closed.
I’d like to add here, that trading with a ladder interface takes a lot of practice to get right. The standard Betfair screen shows a grid interface, and although you can scalp using it, the ladder is far more suitable.
All software shows weight of money indicators, graphs, grid and ladder interfaces and most have a dutching facility. There are even some free applications, but the paid solutions offer far more functionality, speed and security.
To give you an idea, standard trading software costs around £6 per month. If you’re looking for automatic trading, trigger betting and the ability to set rules, then expect to pay closer to £30 monthly. Either way, just a handful of decent trades will cover your subscription.
I personally favor Geeks Toy but Bet Angel offers a superb application. If anything, I’ve found Bet Angel a little complicated and over-engineered for my liking, but it will surely appeal to some. There’s also considerable support on their YouTube channel.
Learning To Scalp
I’m sure that like myself, you’ve dabbled with scalping to some degree. Sometimes, just by having a go, you can understand the processes behind this type of trading. Some people will get it straight away, and for others it takes a little longer.
As human beings, we’re guilty of failing in order to succeed. Lets look at babies for example. When learning to walk, they don’t give up. They keep falling down, until they ultimately master the process of walking.
Trading and scalping are no different. The successful traders out there (and I’m sure they won’t mind me saying) have failed more than the lesser successful. The problem we have though, is that trading has a financial cost, as well as an emotional cost. Generally when we lose money or blow a bank.
If we rely on wisdom, then we should be learning from people who’ve already achieved success. And to that end, I’d like to recommend the works of Caan Berry. For those that don’t know already, Caan is an exemplary trader, and uses scalping effectively in the pre-race markets.
Pre-race betting is ideal for beginners, as the risks are far lower than betting whilst the race is running. I’ve read many testimonials for Caan’s Pre Race Trading Guide, which essentially covers his scalping process. They’re very good indeed, if you’re looking to learn from scratch, or get out of bad habits, then take a look at the Pre Race Trading Guide HERE.
The tiny price for the guide can be recouped very quickly, and thereafter you’re in profit. Caan has a very active You Tube channel with lots of useful advice. I would recommend getting the guide though, as many of his videos make the assumption that you understand what’s contained within.
You can of course learn by yourself, but its a bit of a false economy. Why waste time and money?
Caan uses Geeks Toy for his trading and scalping, and his training refers back to Geeks Toy too. The guide will help you familiarize with the software, therefore get you earning whilst learning.
Despite quite a long post here, the theory of scalping is really simple. You sell something for more than you paid for it, or vice versa. Sounds simple, but for most, it takes a lot of practice to get consistent.
You’ll need a good, stable internet connection, and a reliable computer. Software is recommended too, but training is the most important aspect of all. I’ve recommended Caan’s training, but there are other trainers. Expect to pay a hundreds of pound for their training though.
Scalping offers a perfect work from home hobby or full time income. Provided you can isolate yourself during racing for a few hours, you could do really well. You will need to concentrate though, and avoid distractions.
How else can you get into business for a six quid software subscription monthly, and a little education. If you’re reading this, you’ll already have internet and a computer, so what’s stopping you!
Of course, gambling (of which scalping technically is) is exempt from tax, whether you earn a hundred pounds or a hundred thousand pounds. What you bank, is what you keep.
If you have experience of scalping or trading, why not leave a comment below.